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Tumors

  • Transmissible venereal tumors (TVTs) arise from immune cells called histiocytes. Dogs develop this tumor from direct contact with already affected dogs, most notably during sexual contact. The tumors typically develop on the penis, prepuce, vulva, and vagina, though can develop on the skin, eyes, oral, and nasal cavities as well. The tumors are usually cauliflower-like in appearance. Clinical signs are dependent on the location, but typically the tumors ulcerate and bleed. Metastasis is rare but can affect lymph nodes and other areas of the body. Treatment may include chemotherapy or radiation therapy (for those resistant to chemotherapy). Prognosis is usually good with a high response rate to chemotherapy.

  • Lipomas are benign fat tumors commonly found in Budgies, some Amazon parrots, galahs and sulphur crested cockatoos. They are most often found under the skin on the sternum (breastbone or keel bone) or on the ventral abdomen, but can be anywhere on the body.

  • Xanthomas are discrete masses or diffuse, thickened areas of skin that are yellow-orange and dimpled in appearance. They are accumulations of fat and cholesterol and are most commonly found in cockatiels and budgies (and they are more often found in females).

  • While not as commonly seen as they are in dogs and cats, tumors do occur in birds. Birds of any age can develop tumors.

  • Malignant lymphoma (lymphosarcoma) and leukemia are among the most common malignancies seen in ferrets. Diagnosis may be made by fine needle aspiration or biopsy. For a dedicated owner with a compliant patient, surgery and/or treatment with chemotherapy is an option. Remission of lymphoma is possible with treatment in ferrets, but recurrence is common. Ferrets also commonly develop insulin-producing tumors of the pancreas that lower the ferret’s blood sugar and cause weakness, weight loss, lethargy, seizures, coma, and death. Insulinoma commonly spreads from the pancreas to the liver, so surgical removal of pancreatic insulinoma nodules may not be curative. Affected ferrets respond well for months to years to medical therapy with glucose-promoting drugs (prednisone) and anti-insulin drugs (diazoxide). Drugs suppress effects of the tumor but do not eliminate it; and ferrets on medical treatment must have their medications increased over time as the tumor grows.

  • Urinary tract tumors can occur anywhere along the urinary system, from the kidneys to the urethra. They are more likely to be malignant than benign. In dogs, the most common type of urinary tract tumors are bladder tumors, and of these, the most common is transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). Lymphoma and renal carcinoma are the two most common primary kidney tumors in cats and dogs, respectively, but these are relatively rare. Staging is recommended with all urinary tract tumors. With TCC, staging should include X-rays of the spine and/or hips since bone metastasis is possible. With bladder tumors, treatment is usually medical (e.g., NSAIDs) with/without chemotherapy and radiation therapy. With unilateral kidney tumors, nephrectomy is usually the treatment of choice, while with bilateral kidney tumors, chemotherapy may be considered. Treatment and prognosis always depend on the type of tumor and degree of local invasion and metastasis.

  • Uterine tumors are quite rare in North American pets, mainly due to routine spaying practices. Several types of tumors can arise from the tissues of the uterus. How the tumor will affect your pet is entirely dependent on the location and type of tumor. By far, uterine cancer is most commonly diagnosed by abdominal ultrasound or during a spay procedure. Full staging is recommended prior to surgery to determine if the cancer has metastasized. Treatment for solitary masses without evidence of spread typically involves ovariohysterectomy. If metastasis is present, chemotherapy should be considered, however its efficacy is not completely known. Without evidence of spread, uterine tumors carry a good prognosis.

  • Vascular tumors of the skin develop from the blood vessels of the skin. These tumors may arise anywhere on the body and appear as a firm and raised lump on or under the skin. Hemangiomas may ulcerate and bleed; hemangiosarcomas may bleed into the surrounding tissues. This type of tumor is typically diagnosed via a tissue biopsy or surgical removal of the entire tumor. Surgery is the recommended treatment for vascular tumors of the skin.

  • Visceral vascular tumors are tumors that develop from the blood vessels found in the internal organs of the body, most commonly the heart, liver, and spleen, although other locations, such as the urinary bladder, are possible. There are two forms of visceral vascular tumors: hemangiomas and hemangiosarcomas. Certain breeds, such as German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers, are particularly predisposed to developing hemangiosarcoma. The clinical signs vary depending on the location of the tumor. This type of tumor is often diagnosed with ultrasound of the chest or abdomen depending on the location of the tumor. Surgery is the recommended treatment option and chemotherapy may be recommended.

  • Cancer is classically described as the abnormal growth of a specific cell type with the potential to invade many parts of the body and damage organs or tissues. Cancer has many hallmarks, including its ability to evade the immune system’s safeguards, uncontrollably proliferate, and metastasize (spread). Several genetic and environmental factors have been implicated in the development of cancers, though their origin is likely multifactorial. This handout broadly describes what cancer is, what causes it, what the signs are, and how it can be diagnosed and treated.

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106 Elk Mills Road
Elkton, MD 21921

Phone: 410-398-1331


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